Researchers May 21, 2020
What Language Can Teach Us About Impactful Case Studies
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Case studies are important aspects of education used to teach learners skills through real-life examples. While they are teaching tools, they’re also extremely relevant to guiding students into hands-on situations when they move into the real world. Because of the ability to offer valuable information, case studies are used in the academic world in everything from medical school to business courses.

There are multiple different types of case studies that involve engagement from students in the form of basic informative answers to thorough, open-ended ideas of potential solutions to a problem. By using these real-life studies, students are able to take apart a situation that has already occurred, figure out what’s important, what’s extraneous information, and determine the crux of the problem. From there, they can extrapolate ideas together to figure out potential solutions and forms of action, honing their decision-making skills before they’re in a real situation. 

Types of Case Studies

The two most frequently used types of case studies are narrative and decision-making.  

In a narrative case study, a thorough recounting of a problem and the details surrounding it is given. The solution has already been formed, but students break down the situation into parts, trying to determine if a better method could have been used to solve the issue. They also look at other students’ solutions to analyze which method would have been best and defend their own choices.

On the other hand, in a decision-forming case study, an outcome is not given. The students receive the problem and details surrounding it, but they are required to follow the key points to formulate an outcome themselves. The format of the presentation of the decision-making case study uses mixed media outlets to share the required information, showing the issue and frameworks that could guide the students to the answer, but requiring them to solve the problem themselves.

Using Language to Make a Powerful Case Study

Although case studies are based on situations in which the urgency is no longer there, it’s still important to document the facts carefully. Impactful case studies impart knowledge to students that help them make in-the-moment decisions to crucial questions.

 A good case study has a person involved who has to make a decision to solve a problem, the description of the problem, and data that is relevant to the study. The other element common to an impactful case study is the language that is used.

In a powerful case study, all of these elements are clearly seen:

●      Linking words are used to establish a clear relationship between the cause and the effect, or research and impact. Impactful case studies included phrases that showed the information used was cited from a source, informed the reader of a cause, and demonstrated a clear effect, all linked together with a primary focus on the effect rather than the cause.

●      The benefit of the study on particular audiences is shown through documented evidence. Case studies don’t always have a significant impact, but when one is documented to clearly show a specific reach on who in particular benefited from the results of the study, it becomes more meaningful to the student, and therefore more impactful. A powerful case study explains why the impact was so advantageous by using evidence that follows the trail through to the final group reached.

●      The language is easy to understand. Contrary to what many people believe an academic text should look like, case studies should focus on making the information readable rather than scientific. These are used in front of a wide audience, and the sentences should be shorter and simpler. The point is not to demonstrate the writer’s wide vocabulary skills, but rather to reach a wider target of a non-specialized reader. By breaking up the text into chunks with sub-headings, graphs, and tables, the study becomes more approachable. Use the information that is required, and put it in clear terms without ambiguity or unnecessary pomp and post-graduate level terminology if you want your case study to be impactful.

The writing style of case studies is unique. While they are academic in nature, they should not be approached with that distinctive higher level readability typically expected by a college student. Yet they still need to be professional.

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Tags Academic ImpactAcademic ResearchProfessional Language
About the author
Jason Collins- Writer
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.
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